If you’re tired of talking about the debacle that was PepsiCo’s paid blog that was sprung on us here at ScienceBlogs earlier this week, please carry on elsewhere.
However, this episode is certainly the talk of both scientists and journalists. I suspect that this case will be discussed and dissected in the coming months at conferences and in journalism classrooms around the world.
Two questions have arisen in the last few days between discussion with my wife and fellow bloggers that have not been answered. One has a true answer while the other is more of a value judgement:
1. PepsiCo’s Mehmood Khan, MD, put up a post at the existing corporate home of the Food Frontiers blog about their 36-hour presence at ScienceBlogs:
Earlier this week, PepsiCo’s blog, Food Frontiers, was added to ScienceBlogs.com so we could begin open discussions about the role science can play in finding solutions to global nutrition challenges.
Since the announcement of our participation in ScienceBlogs.com, we’ve heard some very candid feedback from the ScienceBlogs community. As many of you have undoubtedly heard by now, the Food Frontiers blog has been removed from ScienceBlogs. In hearing the community’s feedback, we agree with this decision and feel that the best approach is to take a step back and first examine the role industry scientists, such as myself, can play in the discussion about nutrition science within the larger scientific community.
We knew going in that there would be real differences among scientists within and outside of industry. Our intent is to embrace that conversation, share what we’re doing, and have open discussions to learn from one another as we move toward real solutions. We look forward to engaging in those discussions in communities such as ScienceBlogs as well as here on Food Frontiers.
The specific wording that the blog “has been removed from ScienceBlogs” raises the question as to whether ScienceBlogs management canceled their contract with PepsiCo or whether PepsiCo realized they didn’t want to stay with all of the turmoil associated with their presence. While we remaining bloggers at ScienceBlogs were not privy to negotiations at Seed Media Group’s New York City offices, a contract between the two entities had to be dissolved.
Therefore, do you think that ScienceBlogs management initiated discussions with PepsiCo to cancel their contract or did PepsiCo actually initiate the discussion?
2. There has been much congratulatory commentary regarding those bloggers who were “principled” and left ScienceBlogs in protest. Many of the folks who left I consider dear friends as do I consider those who made such congratulatory statements to others. Some discussion has focused on the fact that professional journalists and book authors had no choice but to leave lest they strike a blow to their long-term credibility. Some bloggers feel that the debacle is outside of their personal blog mission to provide science content (i.e., they do not consider themselves professional journalists).
However, is it implicit that those of us who remain at ScienceBlogs are “unprincipled” or are otherwise lacking in credibility?
I’ve been trying to get a Polldaddy survey to render here for both of these questions but there appears to be some technical difficulty. And, as you might guess, there is no technical support person to contact here to help. Looks to me as though the Polldaddy widget works just fine in my backed-up blog at WordPress.
So, in the meantime, let us know in the comments what you might think about these two queries.